Betting on player shots and shots on target has become more and more popular. Although I’m unsure which bookmaker first allowed betting on this market, I see SkyBet as the driving force behind it. They began to include it in a number of ‘Request A Bet’ markets on their site and since then more and more bookmakers have added it to their markets, with varying degrees of availability.
What is betting on player shots?
It is as simple as it sounds, you can back an individual player to have a certain number of shots on goal/shots on target in a game. It’s became popular because of what is often perceived to be great value, you’re not even asking these players to score, they don’t even need to make particularly good contact and you’ve got yourself a winner.
You need to make sure you’ve fully understood what it is you’re betting on and how to go about making your decisions on who you’re going to back. It’s important you know exactly what constitutes a shot or a shot on target, therefore you’re not left confused or frustrated if your bet is settled as a loss.
What counts as a shot on target?
There has often been uproar on social media when certain bets have been settled as a loss, when many punters think that it should’ve been a win. This is more common with shots betting than any other market as there is an element of subjectivity to what a shot/shot on target is. Opta have definitions available online, here’s what they say constitutes a shot on target:
- Goes in to the net regardless of intent.
- Is a clear attempt to score that would have gone in to the net but for it being saved by the goalkeeper or is stopped by a player who is the last-man with the goalkeeper having no chance of preventing the goal (last line block).
- Shots directly hitting the frame of the goal are not counted as shots on target, unless the ball goes in and is awarded as a goal.
- Shots blocked by another player, who is not the last man, are not counted as shots on target.
The grey area in shots on target betting is with ‘intent’ as this is the part that can be subjective. What one person views as a shot someone else may dispute to be a cross and from an outside perspective, it can be almost impossible to know, as only the player involved truly knows what their ‘intent’ was.
What players should I be backing?
There’s a few schools of thought when it comes to betting on player shots, it’s not just about strikers and goal scorers, there’s other avenues to explore that can lead you to finding some excellent value.
We’ll start with the most obvious picks though, you’re natural going to be drawn towards a team’s striker or main goal scoring threat – think a Jamie Vardy for Leicester, or perhaps a Sergio Aguero for Manchester City. These two would likely be the shortest odds of any player in their team to have a shot on target, you’d be lucky to get odds of around 1.33/1.4 for Sergio Aguero to have 2+ on target in a City home game. A selection like that may bolster a same game multi/bet builder style bet but I think the best way to go is hunt slightly outside the obvious and find where the value lies.
Examples of making your picks
Let’s use the two players/clubs afore mentioned as examples. Let’s start with Vardy, if you head to a website like whoscored.com you can see how many shots per game players average in each team. Vardy leads the way for Leicester with 2.3 per game. Apply some of your knowledge of football to this, though – Vardy is likely to get shots off from in and around the box; he often relies on the creation of chances rather than being a player who creates something out of nothing. Next up on the list is James Maddison, he’s just behind with 2.2 shots per game. Maddison is a player who likes to take on shots from range and also, crucially, takes set pieces for his club. The bookies are no mugs, so you won’t get ludicrous odds on taking Maddison over someone like Vardy, however for me it’s a much more logical decision when you apply football knowledge to it. It’s worth considering the opponents too, in a tougher game there’s a good chance that Maddison may have more shots than Vardy. That could be purely because Vardy doesn’t get any chances against a solid defence or even shots from frustration, likely coming from range could be all you need to land the bet. Also, if you’re going down the route of set piece takers, you can factor in how many fouls the opposition make and in what areas they often concede free kicks.
City are a great example of analysing the stats. Aguero averages 3.3 shots per game, more than any other player in the squad. You can dig even deeper for value in a squad like theirs; I’d be drawn to someone like Ilkay Gundogan. He averages over 1 shot per game, is very consistent with free kicks and often hits penalties. He’d be a prime example of where you’d find some quality odds.
You can drift even further afield in some teams too. Think about how many sides play now, with wandering full backs and high intensity systems. Players like Trent Alexander-Arnold, Marcos Alonso and Oleksandr Zinchenko all spring to mind. Headers count as well, so what about someone like Virgil Van Dijk? The scope is endless and you can build bets to suit what kind of odds you fancy.
Shots betting has become more and more popular and has gained a lot of traction on social media. It can be a very fun way to bet and you can definitely find some consistency and value by checking the stats and applying that to your betting. Like any bet though, it’s a gamble. All the stats in the world don’t guarantee that your chosen player will have a certain amount of shots, they’re merely indicators of what could happen. Make sure you’re keeping stakes sensible, even when odds are short – don’t give in to any possible temptation to increase your stake.